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How do you escape a life as a child bride, and what does the process of rebuilding entail? Join Laura Gassner Otting as she hosts this episode of LGOtv with special guest, Samra Zafar – Humanist, Traveler, Child Bride

3:10 – Tell me about the day you decided to leave.
4:54 – “Everyone turned to look at me and I was scared.”
6:56 – “As a child, I was told to dream but don’t dream too big.”
11:07 – “It was as if I was living in two different worlds.”
12:57 – “I gained leverage, and learned how to manipulate the system to my advantage.”
16:22 – “There many times that I was assaulted, humiliated, and abused and I didn’t even know what to call it. I thought it was normal.”
18:30 – The sign that made all the difference.
20:14 – “The diagram of the Power [and Control] Wheel changed my life.”
25:26 – “The worst thing I faced was the backlash from my family, community, and culture.”
27:30 – How do you get loud when The Culture of Honor says to stay quiet?
29:59 – “No one believed me when I said I was leaving because I was abused.”
30:47 – “If that community at the university hadn’t been there, I would have gone back.”
32:29 – “Hundreds of women have written to me over the years saying, ‘I can’t leave because my family would never talk to me again…I’ll lose everybody.'”
33:00 – “Honor killings are just the tip of the iceberg.”
34:34 – Domestic violence is on the rise due to COVID-19. “The isolation is the abuser’s best friend.”
36:00 – Why did you decide to go public with your personal story?
37:47 – “My story is not just my story. This is the story of millions and millions of girls around the world who continue to suffer in silence because no one wants to talk about it.”
41:04 – “A man wrote and said that he decided that he is going to cancel his teenage daughter’s wedding and send her to school after I read your story.”
42:27 – The letters from the haters are less difficult to bear than the letters from supporters and the girls and women who you inspire.
44:25 – How do you thrive in this space of Wonderhell, where what you are doing is so necessary that you have to be the one that continues to bring the energy and put yourself out there?
50:19 – “The work takes a toll.”
51:18 – “It’s okay to take care of yourself.”
54:00 – Where does the internal strength come from?
58:13 – “We are all here in this world for a purpose.”


Washington Post Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker, Laura Gassner Otting, inspires people to push past the doubt and indecision that keep great ideas in limbo because her presentations make listeners think bigger and accept greater challenges that reach beyond their limited scope of belief.

She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and perspective generated by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, as well as philanthropic landscapes. Laura dares listeners to find their voice, and generate the confidence needed to tackle larger-than-life challenges. She leads them to seek new ways of leading, managing, and mentoring others.